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Annual Review


Our vision is of a society in which refugees are welcome, respected and safe, and in which they can realise their full potential.



Message from the Chairs

Contents Message from the Chairs Trustees‘ report Financial summary

5 6 40

for the year ended 31 March 2011 Reference and administrative information For the year ended 31 March 2011

Refugee Action is an independent, national charity working to enable refugees to build new lives. We provide practical emergency support for newly arrived asylum seekers and long-term commitment to their settlement. As one of the country’s leading agencies in the field, Refugee Action has 30 years’ experience in pioneering innovative work in partnership with refugees.

Charity Registered Number 283660 Company Registered Number 01593454

Chief Executive and Secretary


Dave Garratt (from December 2010)

MHA MacIntyre Hudson New Bridge Street House, 30-34 New Bridge Street, London EC4V 6BJ

Trustees Chris Randall (Chair from February 2011) Rachel Pendlebury (Chair from February 2011) Julia Meiklejohn (Chair to January 2011) Andy Gregg (Vice–Chair) Jeremy Lester (Honorary Treasurer) Susan Cueva Minoo Jalali Colin Hodgetts Sheila Fox Stefanie Pfeil

Published by Refugee Action 4

Annual Review 2010–11

Registered Office: Victoria Charity Centre 11 Belgrave Road, London SW1V 1RB

Bankers National Westminster Bank plc PO Box 282 7 Market Place Derby DE1 9DS

Solicitors Shoosmiths Thames Valley Office, Apex Plaza, Forbury Road, Reading RG1 1SH

Photography: Carys Davis, Alison Gregory, Eva Hunt, Claudia Janke, Prince Odunze, Hannamari Saastamoinen Design: Wild Strawberry Communications Printed by Manor Print

Names and images may have been changed to protect clients’ identities. Such names and images may differ across materials due to clients’ wishes. First published 2012

At the end of a challenging yet exciting year, we take some time to reflect on the difficulties Refugee Action and the wider sector have met, and to celebrate our resilience and strength in the face of adversity. It has never been an easy road for organisations like ours, securing the funding necessary to deliver high quality services is often a battle. Improving public attitudes towards our clients similarly seems an uphill struggle. And ensuring the voices of asylum seekers and refugees are heard – by decision makers, the media and the wider population – is as trying as it is ultimately rewarding. Although it has never been easy, 2010–2011 has brought with it some of our toughest times yet. Significant cuts to our services - and news of the loss of the Refugee Integration and Employment Service altogether - have been devastating blows for our sector, our staff and, most importantly, our clients. Instituting these cuts has involved difficult decisions, the loss of hard working and dedicated staff and a reduction in services we know will adversely affect clients, despite our best efforts to continue to provide for their needs. But there is hope, ably demonstrated by an experienced and devoted staff team whose focus during these difficult times has always been centred on the needs of their clients. They have a history of taking action, whether this is providing the best possible service on the frontline, or speaking out where there are injustices. We have fought to keep our doors open to clients, and we have been guaranteed no further cuts to these vital services for the next two years.

Towards the end of the financial year, we received news that our bid for delivering the Assisted Voluntary Return programme had been successful, and in the run-up to the end of the financial year were deep in mobilisation for this major new service. Our belief that we can provide the best possible client experience, using a holistic and non-directive approach, is the thread that runs through all our work and brings together staff old and new, from Bristol to Glasgow, and across a variety of roles and responsibilities. Dave Garratt became Chief Executive of Refugee Action in December 2010. Now into his twelfth year with Refugee Action, Dave’s experience inspires his practical vision for how the agency can best protect those fleeing persecution. But as Chief Executive of Refugee Action – one of the leading refugee agencies in the sector – he also crucially has a wider vision for society, one in which asylum seekers are welcome, respected and safe and in which they can achieve their full potential. Refugee Action celebrated its 30th anniversary in October 2011. We are confident that Dave and the staff team, working tirelessly on behalf of clients across the UK, share that vision. In these testing times, it is more important than ever that we join with others in our sector, supporting refugee community organisations, to share and deliver that vision for the next thirty years - or however long it takes.

Chris Randall, Chair

Rachel Pendlebury, Chair 5

Trustees‘ report

Trustees‘ report The trustees, who are also the directors of the charity for the purposes of company law, submit their annual report and the financial statements of Refugee Action for the year ended 31 March 2011. The trustees confirm that the annual report and financial statements of the charity comply with current statutory requirements, the requirements of the charity’s governing document and the provisions of the Statement of Recommended Practice, ‘Accounting and Reporting by Charities’ (SORP 2005).

The objects of the charity Refugee Action is a leading independent national charity, working across five regions in England to enable refugees and asylum seekers to build new lives and become active citizens. More than 10,000 refugees and asylum seekers are supported by our programmes every year and many others in the wider community benefit. The objects of the charity are ‘the relief of persons who have become displaced persons or refugees from the country of their origin or domicile by reason of hostilities, persecution, oppression, discrimination, natural disaster or other like causes, and their families and dependants who are in conditions of need, hardship and distress.’ Founded in 1981, we developed the first model resettlement programmes in the United Kingdom, initially with refugees from Vietnam, Bosnia and Kosovo. Our vision is of a society in which refugees are welcome, respected and safe, and in which they can realise their full potential. We achieve this through advice and information, developing communities, enhancing opportunity and being a strong voice for refugee rights. Most refugees have fled war or persecution and many arrive in the United Kingdom without family or friends. They need advice, information and support so they can negotiate the complex asylum system, access services and overcome the considerable challenges of integration. 6

Annual Review 2010–11

Advice and support to asylum seekers and those newly granted refugee status is provided through our One Stop Service and its companion service in Liverpool, Initial Accommodation Wraparound, and the Refugee Integration and Employment Service (RIES), respectively. We are the largest voluntary sector partner for the Gateway Protection Programme, which provides intensive support to refugees who have come to the UK under the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Resettlement Programme. We run many other specialist services and grass roots projects meeting a wide range of needs, including those of the most vulnerable clients. They include, for example, our Get Connected Project for unaccompanied asylum seeking children in Liverpool, the Fresh Start Project for destitute women in Leicester and the Wellbeing Project in Manchester for clients experiencing isolation. We belong to wide range of local and national networks, many of which we helped to establish, and our stakeholder surveys show we are praised for our partnership skills. Together with our partners, and independently, we work to influence policy makers to improve the asylum system.

Involving refugees and asylum seekers at every level of the organisation through their empowerment is a core value and is reflected in the diversity of our staff and volunteers. Two members of our Board of Trustees are refugees as are 22 per cent of staff and 40 per cent of volunteers. 7

Trustees‘ report

Structure, governance and management

Public benefit statement

The charity is governed by its memorandum and articles of association. Refugee Action’s trustees are responsible for the overall management of the charity. Trustees are elected at the Annual General Meeting, or, where vacancies arise, can be appointed by the Board of Trustees. Trustees are chosen for their commitment to refugees, and for expertise (including life experience as refugees), which may be useful in governing the charity. The trustees who served during the year and since, are shown on page 4. Biographical details of trustees are on our website: The trustees set and oversee the policies and the three-year and annual plan of Refugee Action, oversee its financial affairs, and supervise the work of the salaried Chief Executive in carrying out these policies and plans. All trustees are unpaid. When first appointed they are offered an induction programme that includes visits to our regional office teams and to Head Office. Trustees also hold an annual away day with an experienced voluntary sector consultant at which the responsibilities, the future programmes and the risks and challenges facing the charity and its trustees are discussed. Details of trustee expenses and related transactions are disclosed in note 4 of the accounts. The Chief Executive is appointed by the trustees and is accountable to them for managing the charity as a whole. He is in turn advised by a Senior Management Team

(SMT), whose members in 2010-2011 were: • Dave Garratt, Chief Executive (from December 2010, Joint Acting Chief Executive from August 2010) • Jill Roberts, Chief Executive until August 2010 (acting Chief Executive from February 2010) • Lyn Adams, Assistant to Chief Executive • Dan Hodges, Director of Communications and Fundraising (until August 2010) • Farha Waheed, Human Resources Manager (maternity cover until September 2010) • Nicola Parker, Human Resources Manager (from September 2010) • Yemane Tsegai, Finance Director (Joint Acting Chief Executive August 2010 – December 2010) • Rick Jones, Director of Operations (from February 2011)

When planning our activities for the year, the trustees have considered the Charity Commission’s guidance on public benefit. Our work is focused on improving the lives of refugees and asylum seekers. By providing advice and support to refugees and asylum seekers our work is of public benefit by supporting those individuals, relieving their poverty and distress, and by reducing the strain on other community and statutory organisations. The awareness-raising sessions and training that we provide to community groups, statutory organisations and voluntary organisations also have wider ramifications for

The Senior Management Team is assisted by a staff team which comprised 165 staff at the end of March 2011. With the help of volunteers, they delivered services in five regions of England based in nine offices during 2010–2011. These were in London (headquarters), Plymouth (until September 2010), Portsmouth, Bristol, Leicester, Nottingham, Liverpool, Bolton and Manchester. In April 2011 two new offices opened as hub offices for the Choices service, in Birmingham and Leeds. Due to cuts in funding to One Stop Service (OSS) and the loss of all funding for the Refugee Integration and Employment Service (RIES), the Portsmouth and Nottingham offices closed for asylum advice during 2011.



We want a society in which refugees are welcome, respected and safe, and in which they can achieve their full potential.

• Refugee-focus: Refugee Action puts the interests of refugees above all other considerations • Empowerment: the best outcomes for refugees come about when they are empowered. • Partnership: we work with honesty and transparency to advance the movement for refugee rights • Innovation: we will continue to find ways to improve refugees’ lives.

the public benefit by improving public understanding of why refugees and asylum seekers come to this country, their rights while here and their potential contribution to the UK. This in turn reduces hostility towards asylum seekers and refugees and improves understanding and cohesion between different communities. Refugee Action carries out some of its work through partnership with other refugee agencies, community groups, statutory and non-statutory agencies at a local and national level.

Strategic plan 2010–15

Purpose Refugee Action exists to enable refugees to build new lives, through providing advice and information, developing communities, enhancing opportunity and campaigning for refugee rights.

Risk assessment The trustees have assessed the major risks to which the charity is exposed, in particular those related to the operations and finances of the charity, and are satisfied that systems are in place to mitigate exposure to the major risks. Risks are identified under the four headings suggested by the charity Commission: • Governance and Management 8

Annual Review 2010–11

• Operational • Financial • Operational/External Environment. There is greater clarity around the level of risk, in terms of likelihood and impact, together with measures that have been taken to mitigate risk, further action required, and the monitoring process. 9

Trustees‘ report

Strategic aims 2010–15 1 The client-facing aim Ensure that refugees know their rights and responsibilities, are aware of the opportunities available to them and are able to take advantage of such opportunities

2 The organisation facing aim Help other organisations, especially those led by refugees, to meet the needs of and enhance opportunities for refugees

3 The public facing aim Build a cohesive society which welcomes refugees and works to protect and promote refugee rights

4 The policy facing aim Bring about policy and practice at national and local levels which protects refugees and promotes their rights

Cuts to services arising from the government’s 2010 Comprehensive Spending Review

One Stop Service

62% 10

Annual Review 2010–11

Initial Refugee Integration Accommodation and Employment Wraparound Service Service



2010–11 The context 2010–2011 in particular has been a year of unpredictable change. At the start of the reporting period, April 2010, it was extremely difficult to forecast exactly how and when the forthcoming General Election, new asylum policies, cuts in government funding and forthcoming tendering exercises would impact on Refugee Action and on our clients. Our Plymouth office was planned for closure in September 2010, with staff working hard to boost the capacity of the remaining organisations serving refugees and asylum seekers in Devon and Cornwall, such as Devon and Cornwall Refugee Support, the Red Cross and the Citizens Advice Bureau. Having been the specialist asylum support organisation in the city for nine years, the team focused on training and passing on their expertise. This included complex advice areas such as Section 4 support for those whose initial asylum claims had been refused. Our aim was to support other providers to help prevent destitution in the city. The cuts, when news was received in November 2010, were revealed to be savage. Refugee Action and similar agencies, including the Refugee Councils, were informed of a 62% reduction to our One Stop Service from April 2011, 50% to the Initial Accommodation Wraparound Service from April 2011 and the loss of funding altogether for the Refugee Integration and Employment Service from September 2011. Refugee Action joined forces with the Refugee Council, Scottish Refugee Council, Welsh Refugee Council and North of England Refugee Services to lobby against the significant funding cuts to our services. After a period of campaigning, we were informed that while the cuts would go ahead to the timetable already laid out, our remaining level of funding could be guaranteed until 2013. With impending closures to asylum advice services in Portsmouth and Nottingham as a result, these offices

focused in early 2011 to pass on their knowledge to other local groups who could help asylum seekers and refugees. In Portsmouth, staff provided the impetus behind a new coalition, Asylum Welcome, a collaboration between Refugee Action, CLEAR, the Red Cross and visitor groups, to help them establish capability to deliver frontline casework services, with Refugee Action contributing on policy development and liaison with the UKBA. In Bristol, we brought together local services to understand each others’ capacity and remit, agree areas of expertise, share information, prevent duplication, and maximise access to support for people in urgent need. With only one funded worker for this service, we took the lead on complex casework and recruited and trained invaluable volunteers to assist with support applications. We continue to provide consultancy support and training to other services, have maintained our free advice line for 3 sessions a week, and in response to demand produce a monthly newsletter with key policy and service updates. In Nottingham, we trained volunteers of the Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Refugee Forum to boost their capacity to deliver advice. Since the office closure, the Forum has also accommodated a caseworker from our East Midlands team based in Leicester to continue to provide a service in Nottingham with weekly outreach sessions there. We also trained volunteers from the Derby Refugee Advice Centre and continue to support them with second-tier telephone advice. Derby Red Cross volunteers also benefitted from training as we wound down our service, and the organisation provides the base for our weekly outreach visits to Derby. We continue to provide telephone advice to clients and second-tier advice to other agencies across the East Midlands via our Telephone Advice Line.


Our aims – client facing

Ensure that refugees know their rights and responsibilities, are aware of the opportunities available to them and are able to take advantage of such opportunities

Advice and information One Stop Service Our One Stop Service is a confidential and independent advice service for both asylum seekers and those granted refugee status. It is funded by the Home Office UK Border Agency (UKBA). Operating from six offices in the South West, South Central, North West and East Midlands (the Plymouth office closing in September 2010), the service addresses a wide range of advice needs. Principal amongst these are concerns around statutory support arrangements (financial support and accommodation), understanding Home Office processes and access to a solicitor. The latter is especially important for ensuring accurate asylum decisions and that clients have confidence in the outcome of their asylum claim. Advice and information is also given on education, health, employment and complex issues such as domestic violence, racial harassment and trafficking. We refer asylum seekers and refugees to our own or other specialist services and also provide emergency funds and food parcels, either directly or through partner agencies. In 2010–2011 refugees and asylum seekers contacted

our One Stop Service almost 50,000 times and we provided over 20,000 face to face advice sessions. Clients most frequently contacted us for assistance with Section 4 support – support available to refused asylum seekers who meet certain criteria – including the completion of complicated application forms. Around two thirds were men and one third women. A quarter were young people under the age of 26 and just under a fifth of advice sessions involved children either as part of a family or as unaccompanied asylum seeking children. More than two thousand people were advised about destitution, having been refused asylum or because of administrative failures. The top five countries of origin for the service’s clients were Iran, Iraq, Zimbabwe, China and Afghanistan. Along with those from Somalia and Eritrea these nationalities constitute over 50% of the total. Towards the end of 2010, Refugee Action were informed of significant cuts to funding as part of the coalition government’s Comprehensive Spending Review and subsequent cuts to the Home Office and its agencies. These cuts included a 62% cut to One Stop services.

Initial Accommodation Wraparound Service The Initial Accommodation Wraparound Service in Liverpool, funded by UKBA, helps newly-arrived asylum seekers based in initial accommodation to access the limited benefits and housing to which they are entitled and to know about their rights and responsibilities. It aims to ensure they are settled as quickly as possible in more permanent accommodation and that they are well informed about the asylum process and life in the UK. All clients are treated with dignity and acceptance, however brief their contact with the service. During 2010-11 the Wraparound Service delivered 6,361 face to face advice and orientation sessions. With a reduction in asylum claimants the service has broadened its focus, working with clients throughout the asylum process, while continuing to provide a swift and efficient service to new arrivals. A new method for delivering orientation briefings was developed, whereby 12

Annual Review 2010–11

a bilingual caseworker delivered the briefing on video. A video was created for each of the ten most common languages spoken by clients. These videos were then installed on staff computers, enabling volunteers to play briefings to clients while they waited for casework appointments. Volunteers have played a major part in the development of wellbeing activities for clients. These include regular language classes and a visit to the local library. Students from Liverpool University have carried out short placements assisting with wellbeing and administrative tasks. From April 2011, the Initial Accommodation Wraparound Service suffered a 50% cut in funding as a result of the cuts to the Home Office budget identified by the Comprehensive Spending Review. 13

Our aims – client facing

Refugee Integration and Employment Service

Choices Assisted Voluntary Return Service

Those granted refugee status have a very short period in which to leave statutory supported accommodation and obtain welfare benefits or find employment. A lack of confidence, knowledge of local services and English language are all significant barriers to achieving independence. There are also obstacles to re-qualifying in previous occupations, often in professions for which the UK has a special need such as medicine, teaching and civil engineering. Also funded by UKBA, our Refugee Integration and Employment Service (RIES) provided intensive caseworker support for these clients in 2010-11. The service also included referral to an employment expert and, where appropriate, a Refugee Action UK community volunteer mentor, often from a profession in which the refugee had experience.

Towards the end of the year Refugee Action was awarded the contract to deliver UKBA’s Assisted Voluntary Return (AVR) programme, previously delivered by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM). This service, which has been named Choices, builds on our former AVR service which Refugee Action previously delivered as a subcontractor of IOM, from 2000 onwards. This service was developed after refugee communities approached Refugee Action, concerned about the lack of impartial and confidential advice available for those considering return to their countries of origin. The new contract gives Refugee Action responsibility for delivering all aspects of the voluntary return programme, ensuring that those thinking about return can get the information they need to make their own decision and that those who decide to return can do so with dignity. The ‘mobilisation period’ of February 8th-–March 31st 2011 involved establishing dedicated new offices in London, Leeds and Birmingham, staff recruitment, service planning and communicating the new service, prior to operations beginning on April 1st 2011. We will provide advice and assistance for three groups of people who may be considering voluntary return: • asylum seekers and refused asylum seekers (VARRP programme) • irregular migrants (AVRIM programme) • families and children, (may be asylum seekers, refused asylum seekers or irregular migrants) (AVRFC programme)

Due to funding cuts, the capacity of the service was reduced over 2010-11. Despite this 1,152 refugees, originating from over 50 different countries were referred to the service during the year, with 804 (70%) entering the programme. The majority of advice sessions covered accessing housing and income from benefits to help clients through the difficult transitional period after leaving UKBA accommodation, catering for basic needs while employment or education options can be explored. Since the start of the RIES at the end of 2008, around 3,000 clients have been supported by the service. Towards the end of 2010, Refugee Action was informed that funding for the Refugee Integration and Employment Service would end completely from October 2011, as part of the cuts to the Home Office budget resulting from the Comprehensive Spending Review.

Voluntary Sector Key Worker Pilot Designed to provide support throughout the asylum process, the Voluntary Sector Key Worker Pilot – with funding from the European Return Fund via the UKBA – was delivered in Manchester and Liverpool during the year, by staff and volunteers, and rolled out for families with children. Using learning from the Key Worker Pilot in Liverpool, newly arrived clients are now informed of the asylum determination process in initial accommodation, where possible. In Manchester, the volunteer keyworker pilot was developed to match up volunteers to deliver similar work to guide clients through the system, delivering briefings about asylum determination at various stages.


Annual Review 2010–11

Each client has a key volunteer and social work students are very involved. The pilot has delivered a more holistic way of providing support to asylum seekers, with clients assigned a single key worker to stay in touch with throughout the asylum process. The pilot aims to increase the proportion of right-first-time positive decisions for clients. It is also envisaged that with greater understanding of, and trust in, the decisions that have been made about their cases, asylum claimants will give more consideration to voluntary return as an option where asylum has been refused.

Choices consists of: • outreach sessions and materials to raise awareness of the service among potential clients • confidential advice and information for people deciding whether to apply for a voluntary return programme • assistance with travel documents, flight bookings and other practicalities for those who do wish to return voluntarily • referral to other Refugee Action or local advice services for those who decide they do not wish to return • reintegration planning, assistance and support both before and after return • feedback from returnees and partner organisations in countries of return.


Our aims – client facing

Gateway Protection Programme Our Gateway Protection Programme supports refugees who have been identified as being at risk and brought to the UK under the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Humanitarian Resettlement Programme. It is provided across Greater Manchester. Drawing on Home Office research we have developed a best practice model in partnership with the Refugee Council and local authorities which over the year included Bolton, Bury, Manchester, Salford, Rochdale, Oldham, Tameside and Stockport. Especially vulnerable, these clients face considerable barriers and challenges including overcoming the effects of violence, torture and rape. They are supported by Refugee Action’s resettlement workers, community development workers and volunteers. The promotion of independence and self-help is a key aim, the goal being to empower and enable clients. Resettlement workers help clients to access services and look at their short, medium and long term goals through a personal integration plan. Language skills are supported through partnerships with local English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) providers. We help clients understand the labour market and identify their transferable skills supporting them into volunteering, work experience and training. Development workers help refugee groups to form the social bonds with the local community which are so vital to their integration.

Refugees resettled into the area now account for around two-thirds of the UK total and approximately onetenth of all European resettlement. Those resettled in earlier years come together as the ‘Gateway Forum’ which the team consults on new developments to the service. The forum comprises around twenty former clients and has gone from strength to strength in 2010–2011. The service Refugee Action provides to Gateway clients includes a series of ‘Life in the UK’ seminars where the refugees come together to learn about specific subjects, for example budgeting and finance and UK health services. This year, Gateway forum members began attending the Life in The UK seminars to share their experiences for the benefit of the newer arrivals. They have also helped develop a ‘Manc Dictionary’ to assist newly resettled clients learn colloquial English. Another particularly successful development has been an electronic message board to enable clients to access information both before and after arrival in the UK. Excitingly, 2010–2011 saw the first Bhutanese and Somalis ever resettled in the UK, from refugee camps in Nepal and Kenya respectively. Other groups we resettled during the year were Ethiopians and Somalis from Dadaad refugee camp in Kenya, Iraqis from Jordan and Congolese from Tanzania.

When we first arrived we needed help to do everything, but now for most things we do not need anyone to help us, we can do it on our own Mon Maya Pokhrel


Annual Review 2010–11



Our aims – client facing

Get Connected A quarter of Refugee Action clients are aged 26 years or under. Young refugees and asylum seekers generally, and looked after unaccompanied children in particular, are among the most marginalised and vulnerable groups in the UK. Having fled countries ravaged by civil wars, ethnic cleansing and indiscriminate violence, they lead very different lives from their peers at school or college. Over 1,500 unaccompanied asylum seeking children seek safety and protection in the UK every year and are taken into local authority care. These young people are often very isolated, lacking support networks of family or friends. They frequently experience discrimination, and may face eventual destitution and homelessness. Already suffering anxiety from experiences in their home country, it’s not unusual for their mental health to deteriorate as their lives continue to lack stability once in the UK. Whilst all our advice services benefit young people, we have provided specialist support services to young asylum seekers since 2001. Funded by the BBC Children in Need Appeal, our Get Connected Project in Liverpool worked with 55 unaccompanied asylum seeking children in the last year and has benefited over

In 2010–11, a number of young people from Get Connected took part in an initiative with AimHigher, a government funded programme to widen participation in higher education in the UK. As part of this project, the young people interviewed professionals from various occupations to explore routes into careers and visited London for some of this work. This year, Get Connected became a partner of the InterACT Project run by the Citizenship Foundation.


Annual Review 2010–11

1,000 young people in the past ten years. Clients are included on the project’s steering group for which they receive training and support. This participatory approach is integral to the project and has been informed by its successful Peers, Pride or Prejudice initiative (200709) which tackled victimisation and hate crime. Get Connected enables unaccompanied asylum seeking children to build new lives and overcome the challenges of integration through a varied programme encompassing life skills and personal development, advice and information and self-advocacy. Youth advocacy workers provide individual advocacy and group support to enable the young people to have a voice with service providers and decision makers. They ensure clients are fully informed of their rights and entitlements under the law in relation to standards of care, accommodation, education and asylum issues. This includes support for young people whose existing claims for asylum are disputed on the grounds of age such as help with understanding legal documents and accompanying them to hearings. The project enables young people to access learning and employment opportunities and they are encouraged to plan and develop their own activity programmes.

The project brings young people aged 16-25 from the local area together with young refugees to work on a social action project to benefit their community. Our partner is Fairbridge Merseyside, which works with disadvantaged young people from communities across Greater Liverpool. The group meets twice a week to identify and address issues that equally affect them, breaking down barriers by creating a shared goal.

They (Fairbridge) said that it was all about different people coming together...because we wouldn’t ever speak to them, like you wouldn’t just go to the streets and speak to a refugee, you know, it wouldn’t happen. But we have got the chance to speak to quite a few of them and learn about what they are up against in their’s dead nice that we mix, it’s dead good.


InterACT participant from Fairbridge Merseyside

I just want to take part in this project because I want to know the people here better...because I just want to communicate with other people...I just want to respect the culture of the people here.


InterACT participant from Get Connected


Our aims – client facing

Fresh Start March 2010 saw the launch of the Fresh Start Project in Leicester, which seeks long term and sustainable solutions for female asylum seekers who are destitute. Meeting the immediate needs (for accommodation and support) of those in the project for a maximum of six months allows the residents time and space to think seriously about their future, without the pressures of destitution. At the end of that month, three women were being housed, all from Zimbabwe, with plans for more residents to move in during the first few months of the financial year 2011/2012. The Fresh Start Specialist, supported by volunteers, works intensively with the women to look at where they have got to in the asylum system, why they became destitute and what their options might be, including the possibility of making a fresh claim. Legal advice will be obtained to allow Fresh Start clients to

pursue any such unresolved asylum issues. Clients will be encouraged to consider the various possible outcomes of their claims – which could be the grant of status or a final asylum refusal – and to make decisions about what they will do in the event of either. The project is managed by Refugee Action, with the British Red Cross, the Diocese of Leicester and Foundation Housing as partners all playing a role in delivering the service. Fresh Start is funded by Refugee Action, the British Red Cross and by income from fundraising, as well as a generous donation from Jahan Abedi, as featured in Channel 4’s The Secret Millionaire. Additional monies will come from charitable trusts, and the house and garden are ably looked after by a team of local volunteers, including a complete garden rescue by the Leicester branch of accountancy firm, Grant Thornton LLP UK.

Shortly after the launch of the project, Fresh Start was visited by local MP Liz Kendall (Leicester West) and Houghton South & Sunderland MP Bridget Phillipson, who enjoyed a tour of the house and a cup of tea and a chat with residents and Refugee Action staff.


Annual Review 2010–11


Our aims – client facing

The Wellbeing Project Many of those attending our Wellbeing Project in Manchester are vulnerable asylum seekers. The project aims to promote the positive wellbeing of isolated refugees and asylum seekers and to prevent the distress caused by their extreme experiences and highly chaotic lives leading to poorer mental health. The project provides a regular programme of activities such as cycling and sports. It works closely with asylum advice services to offer clients a more holistic package of support. This year a person-centred wellbeing assessment tool has been developed, to enhance client working, promoting resilience, celebrating

Mimi is one of the participants in our Wellbeing Project in Manchester who has benefited from learning to cycle and the bike recycling scheme established in 2011. Cycling is an invaluable skill for clients who are destitute or on Section 4 support, providing them with a cheap means of transport around the city.


Annual Review 2010–11

clients’ skills and supporting them to make choices. Aside from the activity sessions, the project offers one to one support and signposting to local services, organisations and support groups. The project is heavily oversubscribed. Volunteers increase the capacity of the service, supporting paid staff so it could benefit 399 clients during this year. Since the start of the project, over 200 people have been supported to learn how to ride a bike and this year a bike recycling scheme has been set up to enable clients to have a bike of their own.

Two main events stand out in my memory with Wellbeing. One was when the Development Worker organised a celebration for Ethiopian New Year; we had a huge Ethiopian flag. She had bought the material and I sewed it. We had music, food, dancing. For the first time since they had been here I saw people feel like they were at home. We were very happy. I will not forget that day. The second was when we went to a park and went on a boat, with all the children too. It was such a wonderful day. This project is very important for people like me. When you come from another country, you miss home. Even if you have been poor, you miss your life. The thing about Wellbeing is that you can talk freely and you feel free. I am very grateful to the Development Worker and the volunteers on the Wellbeing Project, because they never judged me. They helped me to get involved in fun things and make friends. Sometimes I think I am a new person.


Mimi, a participant in our Wellbeing Project


Our aims – organisation facing

Help other organisations, especially those led by refugees, to meet the needs of and enhance opportunities for refugees

UK wide: Basis Project Our five year Basis Project had a productive and eventful fourth year, involving both exciting developments and worrying challenges. The project is a collaboration with the Refugee Council, funded by the Big Lottery to provide a national service of organisational development support to refugee community organisations (RCOs). The support comprises one to one coaching, capacity building, workshops, seminars, training sessions, networking, peer to peer support and generalist advice on a range of relevant topics. All support and development is specifically tailored to the needs and requirements of each RCO. This approach reflects our philosophy that settlement and integration is best achieved through strong refugee community organisations and practical support. During 2010–2011 the project also conducted awareness raising and partnership working with a range of local and national funders and second-tier infrastructure organisations. This proved to be extremely productive, enhancing knowledge of the unique needs, issues and challenges facing RCOs and improving their access to funding streams and local/regional support.

External factors have created some of the main challenges facing the project, namely funding and infrastructure cuts. Many organisations have had their long term funding of three years or more reduced to one year or even six months, having a serious impact on their ability to plan for the future. As a result of cuts, many of the requests for support from Basis have focused on fundraising assistance, sustainability issues and sadly a few exit and winding down strategies. Additionally, many second-tier infrastructure organisations themselves have faced major resource cuts and local sources of support have been removed. This has significantly destabilised local RCOs and increased demand on the Basis Project. Smoothing the way has been the continued flexibility of the Basis Project to adapt to changing demands. With the capacity to provide a range of support the project is able to effectively meet the needs of individual RCOs. This ensures that both large, well established RCOs can be supported in addition to smaller, less stable organisations.

I did not think we could find some help for our project as we had tried to find it in so many places and failed. Basis has really helped us and given us hope. We know that we can do great things because we have the support of Basis. We can provide better support for our people, because we are stronger. We are also more confident because Basis has taught us to do things for ourselves. We are very grateful to the Basis Project. Dr Neo Moepi, Sisonke, Slough


Annual Review 2010–11



Liverpool: Basis 2 Project Under the Merseyside BME Legacy Project, funded by the Big Lottery Fund, the Liverpool team worked in partnership with local organisation the Chara Trust to help new RCOs establish. Ten newly emerging RCOs

were assisted to form committees, write constitutions and reach a level of development ready to access the Basis Project.

North West: TRIO Project Ever-shifting legislation presents RCOs with enormous challenges. We began a new Big Lottery funded project in July 2009, TRIO in Manchester, which aims to empower RCOs and voluntary sector organisations (VSOs) to positively influence policies affecting their communities. During the year the project has organised training sessions, events and consultations for its partners and supported them in campaigning endeavours. In addition, the project continued to provide briefings and

policy updates for its partners, including a new Asylum Policy Bulletin which is circulated to more than one hundred partners. TRIO helped establish two campaign groups in the region, United for Change and the Manchester City of Sanctuary Group. United for Change has registered 35 external supporters and is campaigning on destitution, while the Manchester City of Sanctuary Group has a membership of 11 local organisations collaborating to make Manchester a more welcoming city to refugees.

Thank you for your good work. TRIO has made the work of our advice team very easy. Your updates always come when we need them.


TRIO partner organisation


Annual Review 2010–11


Our aims – public facing

To build a cohesive society which welcomes refugees and works to protect and promote refugee rights

Bristol: Migration Impact Fund Project The Bristol Migration Impact Fund Project continued throughout 2010–2011, working in partnership with a city-wide partnership of organisations. Funded by the Migration Impact Fund through Bristol City Council, the project supported integration in the city through community events, mentoring, and awareness training. The project’s participatory approach increased the involvement of migrants in civic life across the city and strengthened community cohesion. Volunteers are integral to the project, with volunteer mentors matched with mentees to provide support and information around employment, English as a second

language and social integration. In the past year, mentees have been successful in finding jobs in the retail, catering, cleaning, hospital and postal industries. Others have completed business and work placements, for example at John Lewis, Marks & Spencer and LearnDirect. Many others are studying or volunteering locally, some with refugee organisations and others with charities including the Salvation Army, the British Red Cross and Shelter. The project’s Awareness Trainers have delivered sessions with diverse groups, from medical students to housing officers to job centre staff.

Manchester: Training Project The Training Project in Manchester aims to improve services for refugees and asylum seekers through promoting a better understanding and knowledge of refugees and asylum to local statutory and voluntary organisations. The project is funded by Bolton Community Homes and the Home Office through the Gateway Protection Programme. The project delivered 50 training sessions to 841 people during the year. We designed and delivered a


Annual Review 2010–11

number of new courses; Working with Interpreters, Equality and Diversity, and Cultural Awareness which is co-delivered by volunteers from three of the main asylum seeking countries. We continued to deliver specialist courses in Asylum and Mental Health and Understanding Female Genital Mutilation, and developed partnerships to run ongoing programmes of training to Greater Manchester Police, Oldham Council, and Bolton Social Care.


Our aims – public facing

Manchester: Salford Integration and Community Cohesion Project Our Salford Integration and Community Cohesion Project is working at a neighbourhood level to develop opportunities for face to face contact between those new to the area and host communities. Through meeting others, recognising common ground, celebrating difference and working together, the project is strengthening local communities. During 2010 it has principally worked in the Ordsall and Langworthy area, running events including a football tournament, a youth hate crime project, drama performances,

cycling projects, Sure Start initiatives and joint cultural awareness events. At the start of 2011, the Salford Men’s Project was established to work with 30 isolated single men, from migrant backgrounds, in the borough. Consultation early in the project identified employment support as a route to engage men and so courses provide tailored employment support with a view to developing cultural knowledge and planning practical steps towards finding work as a means to integrate into life in the UK.

Nottingham: Into the Mainstream Project In Nottingham the Into the Mainstream Project in partnership with Nottingham & Nottinghamshire Refugee Forum was awarded funding from the Migration Impacts Fund through NHS Nottingham City to improve access to healthcare and healthcare experiences of asylum seekers and refugees. The project works with clients to link them to

healthcare providers, usually GPs, trains healthcare professionals in the needs of asylum seekers and promotes healthy living in communities. The project also worked with NHS Nottingham City to develop a welcome pack for asylum seekers and refugees, introducing them to their healthcare rights.

Speaking out in the media We continued to provide refugees and asylum seekers with the necessary skills and support to become effective spokespeople. They work with our staff to provide more positive and accurate information about refugees and asylum seekers through the media, our website, social media channels and awareness raising talks. We worked with journalists to place the voices of refugees at the centre of mainstream debate, gaining coverage in national and local media, telling the stories of refugees and asylum seekers.


Annual Review 2010–11

We worked with Ipsos MORI to conduct a Refugee Week 2010 poll of refugees and asylum seekers – asking what they most liked about Britain and British life. This received coverage in 75 publications, generating more than £100,000 in advertising revenue, including the Daily Mail, the Daily Express, the Metro, the Guardian and the Evening Standard, as well as BBC London and the BBC World Service.


Our aims – public facing

Celebrating volunteers

Inspiring supporters Despite a continually tough financial climate and a reduction in the number of fundraising staff, Refugee Action continues to have a financially dedicated group of 900 or so supporters who give on a regular basis, making up the majority of our core voluntary income. With average gifts from these individuals well above the sector average, 2010–2011 saw an increase of £18,000 meaning a total of £101,000 was raised from committed giving. A further £68,000 was given in oneoff cash gifts. We received three large grants from trusts and foundations in 2010–2011. One grant of £30,000 was received from the Barrow Cadbury Foundation, which funded the second year of the National Volunteer Co-ordinator post. The other two grants, from the John Ellerman Foundation and the Rayne Foundation were both new relationships and entry-level grants which have the potential to grow into long-term relationships. Meanwhile, across the country people have been inspired to take action in order to raise vital pounds for the organisation. Some sang their hearts out for refugees during our Charioke Marathon and one happy couple even asked their wedding guests to donate to Refugee Action in lieu of gifts. More weird and wonderful ways to raise money are promised for 2011/2012 with a host of fundraising initiatives being launched, as well as a comprehensive programme of supporter care to inspire more people to donate and fundraise.

Our regular supporters across the UK

Volunteers are integral to our work and their commitment, skills, interests and life experiences are an enormous asset to the agency as a whole and, increasingly, the cities and communities where we work. Governing the organisation, Refugee Action’s Board of Trustees are volunteers. At all levels of our work, volunteers support, strengthen and give added value to the services our staff teams deliver. Volunteers come from all walks of life and undertake many different tasks across a wide variety of projects including mentoring, advocacy, befriending, and supporting important aspects of our client casework. Since many of our volunteers are asylum seekers or refugees themselves, they speak a range of languages and

2 4

2 14

2 24 7


9 50







18 14 340

71 9

can offer practical support from personal experience as well as from the training we provide them. The relationships which develop between UK and refugee volunteers when working alongside each other also help to promote mutual understanding between individuals and communities. Last year approximately 200 volunteers were supported within Refugee Action and of those 40 per cent were refugees or asylum seekers. More than 50 staff were trained to support and manage volunteers. The Refugee Action Volunteers Event (RAVE) took place in October 2010 in Liverpool, bringing together sixty volunteers from around the country for a day of work, play and celebration of the value volunteers bring to the organisation.



I am very happy to be volunteering for Refugee Action. I‘ve gained lots of work experience and a good opportunity to know more people from different backgrounds in the UK. My role as a Casework Assistant involves working closely with our refugee and asylum seeking clients – I am a refugee myself. I am trying to bring fellow refugees to Refugee Action to do some volunteering for our community as well. Belay, volunteer, Manchester


Annual Review 2010–11


Our aims – policy facing

To bring about policy and practice at national and local levels which protects refugees and promotes their rights

Influencing decision makers Influencing asylum policy and practice at national and local levels and promoting and protecting the rights of refugees and asylum seekers is one of our main aims. After meeting with the UK Lesbian and Gay Immigration Group (UKLGIG) and Stonewall, at the start of the year we launched a new campaign, ‘Free to be Me,’ calling for a fair process for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) asylum applicants. 1572 people signed up to our campaign having heard about it through our supporter email, social media, blog posts or our outreach at Gay Pride events across the country and at Liberal Democrat party conference (in collaboration with the LGBT Liberal Democrats group). Almost a thousand of those supporters were new to Refugee Action. We met with a number of MPs and received extensive media coverage, including a client case study in The Independent. Campaigning from across the refugee and gay rights sectors contributed to a Supreme Court decision in July 2010 which ended the Home Office practice of returning LGBT asylum applicants to countries where persecution was likely on the grounds that they could keep their sexuality discreet. Following the Supreme Court decision, our campaign changed focus towards improving training for UKBA caseworkers to deal with LGBT asylum applicants, with UKLGIG providing this training in January 2011.

However, with the loss of funding for a campaigns post in early 2011, our objectives to improve UKBA caseowners’ information about homophobia in countries of origin, and to exclude LGBT cases from the fast-track process, will remain subjects for lobbying efforts and will be taken forward in campaigns work by Freedom from Torture. In the run-up to the 2010 General Election we contacted parliamentary candidates from the three main parties in a number of seats, focusing on those with a strong British National Party and UK Independence Party presence in their constituency, arming them with the information they needed to dispel myths about asylum in their communities. We have forged links with MPs serving in constituencies where we work, facilitating visits to our offices to meet staff and clients, broadening understanding of how asylum policy impacts some of the most vulnerable people in the UK. Government consultations to which we contributed included those on access to the NHS for foreign nationals, legal aid reform and child detention. For the first time, we attended the political party conferences and met with MPs, members of the House of Lords and organisations within and outside of the sector to discuss policy recommendations for improving the asylum system.

I have visited my local Refugee Action office on more than one occasion not only to update myself, and my caseworker, on the level of need in the area and wider national issues but also to share with Refugee Action the type of problems which are presenting themselves in my surgeries. I have always been very impressed by the professionalism of the team I have met and found their advice immensely helpful. Alison Seabeck MP


Annual Review 2010–11



Refugee Week 2010 Different pasts, shared futures ... Refugee Week is a UK-wide programme of arts, cultural and educational events that celebrate the contribution of refugees to the UK, and encourages a better understanding between communities. Refugee Action is a partner agency of Refugee Week, along with Amnesty International UK, British Red Cross, United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), the Children’s Society, Oxfam, Refugee Council, City of Sanctuary, Scottish Refugee Council, STAR (Student Action for Refugees) and Welsh Refugee Council. Apart from the partner agencies, elements of Refugee Week are also funded by the Arts Council England, Greater London Authority and by a great number of other funding bodies and individuals which support various activities across the country.

• In Leicester (pictured top left) we enjoyed the beautiful game… • In London (pictured bottom left) we held a panel discussion about refugee representations in film, chaired by Samira Ahmed of Channel 4 news, and Colin Firth’s film website Brightwide showed three films which explored the refugee experience... • In London (pictured top right)) we put our brollies up for a parade to celebrate the principle of sanctuary... • In Bristol (pictured middle right) we encouraged children to paint their feelings about refugees... • In Manchester (pictured bottom right) we promoted famous refugees, from Albert Einstein to Jackie Chan...

Refugee Week is all about celebrating the contribution of refugees to the UK, but it is also about nurturing a better understanding of the issues that face people in exile. Colin Firth


Annual Review 2010–11



Our year in numbers 47,000 600 200 6,361 2,219 ¼ 22% 147,078 contacts to our One Stop Shop Services

retweets in just one day – reaching 50,000 Twitterers

volunteers working hard across the UK

face to face advice sessions at our Wraparound service in Liverpool

destitute clients advised

of people contacting the OSS were under 26

of our staff are refugees

visits to


Annual Report 2010–11

367 399 1,379 21,418 40% 2,656 40 Over half a million letters to MPs written

clients supported by our Wellbeing Project

people liked our Facebook page

face to face advice sessions at our One Stop Shop services

of our volunteers are refugees

new campaigners signed up

banners made at Bristol Celebrating Sanctuary 2010

views of our web pages


£51k £376k £202k

£1.23m £16k

£1.449m charitable activities investment interest voluntary income

income generation governance



Sources of income

Financial summary Thank you Refugee Action would like to thank the generosity of our funders who have supported us in 2010-11 despite the challenging financial climate. They include Nottingham Primary Care Trust, Manchester City Council, Bristol City Council, Salford City Council, European Refugee Fund, Big Lottery Fund, The LankellyChase Foundation, Greater Manchester Centre for Voluntary Organisation, The Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, The Save the Children Fund, The

Barrow Cadbury Trust, The Rayne Foundation, The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund, British Refugee Council, BBC Children in Need Fund, GoldStar, The John Ellerman Foundation, Jahan Abedi, The British Red Cross Society, Vine Community Centre, Chilwell Road Methodist Church and hundreds of individual donors across the UK who are integral to delivering our vision of a society in which refugees are welcome, respected and safe, and in which they can realise their full potential.

Report on summarised financial statements The summarised financial statements, comprising the Statement of Financial Activities and Balance Sheet, have been extracted from the full trustees’ report and financial statements which have been audited by MHA MacIntyre Hudson which gave an unqualified audit report on 8 December 2011. The auditors have confirmed to the trustees that the summarised financial statements are consistent with the full financial statements for the year ended 31 March 2011. The trustees’ report and financial statements were approved by the trustees and signed on their behalf on 8 December 2011. They are to be submitted to the Charity Commission (and Registrar of Companies).

These summarised financial statements may not contain sufficient information to allow for a full understanding of the financial affairs of the charity. The full trustees’ report, audit report and financial statements may be obtained from the Secretary at Refugee Action, Victoria Charity Centre, City of Westminster, London, SW1V 1RB or from the Refugee Action website

Signed on behalf of the trustees:

Chris Randall, Co-Chair


Annual Review 2010–11

Rachel Pendlebury, Co-Chair

asylum advice and community development Refugee Integration and Employment Service communications

What we spent money on

Statement of financial activities (incorporating income and expenditure account) For the year ended 31 March 2011 Restricted Unrestricted Total Total funds funds 2011 2010 £’000 £’000 £’000 £’000 INCOMING RESOURCES Incoming resources from generated funds: Voluntary income 941 289 1230 1058 Investment income - interest receivable 16 16 17 Incoming resources from charitable activities 5,844 2,417 8,261 8,677 TOTAL INCOMING RESOURCES 6,785 2,722 9,507 9,752 RESOURCES EXPENDED Costs of generating funds: Costs of generating voluntary income 24 178 202 275 Charitable expenditure Charitable activities: Refugee Integration and Employment Service 1,449 1,449 2,296 Asylum advice and community development services 6,490 64 6,544 6,345 Communications 260 116 376 293 Governance costs 31 20 51 53 TOTAL RESOURCES EXPENDED 6,805 1,827 8,632 9,262 NET INCOME/(EXPENDITURE) TOTAL FUNDS AT START OF YEAR TOTAL FUNDS AT END OF YEAR

Balance sheet (as at 31 March 2011)

(20) 1,001 981

895 3,104 3,999

875 4,105 4,980

490 3,615 4,105

2011 2011 2010 2010 FIXED ASSETS Tangible fixed assets 524 360 CURRENT ASSETS Debtors 2,174 1,989 Cash at bank and in hand 3,041 3,485 5,215 5,474 CREDITORS Amounts falling due within one year (759) (1,729) NET CURRENT ASSETS 4,456





CHARITY FUNDS Restricted funds 981 1,001 Unrestricted funds General Funds 1,978 1,650 Designated funds 2,021 1,454 4,980 4,105 41

Please help us continue to support refugees How to donate

8 ( 0845 894 2536 È REF05 £10 to 70070


Annual Review 2010–11


Head Office Victoria Charity Centre 11 Belgrave Road London SW1V 1RB T: 020 7952 1511

Leeds 16 Lower Brunswick Street Leeds LS2 7PU T: 0113 302 3050 F: 0113 243 6065

Birmingham 321 Jewellery Business Centre Spencer Street Birmingham B18 6DA T: 0121 201 3070

Leicester Chancery House 7 Millstone Lane Leicester LE1 5JN T: 0116 261 6200 F: 0116 261 6226

Bristol 43–45 Easton Business Centre Felix Road Easton Bristol BS5 0HE T: 0117 941 5960 F: 0117 955 5036

Find us online www.

Liverpool 64 Mount Pleasant Liverpool L3 5SD T: 0151 702 6300 F: 0151 709 6684

Liverpool Greenbank 27 Greenbank Drive Sefton Park Liverpool L17 1AS T: 0151 734 7570 F: 0151 734 3625 Manchester 23-37 Edge St Manchester M4 1HW T: 0161 831 5420 F: 0161 834 7715 Portsmouth 1st Floor, Haven Community Project 17 Lake Road Portsmouth PO1 4HA T: 02392 857561 F: 02392 857560

Refugee Action Annual Review 2011  

Refugee Action's Annual Review for financial year 2010-2011, including financial summary